On April 27, a Court acquitted five police officers who were accused of using unlawful force during the 2019 social uprising. This is the first case in which the judiciary has applied the Naín-Retamal law. The law went into effect on April 10.
Judges of the Oral Tribunal Court of Talagante voted 2-1 to acquit five police officers, who were accused of using illegitimate force and weapons on a patrol during the 2019 social uprising. This is the first time a court referenced the Naín-Retamal law in a case related to the 2019 social uprising. The law gives police officers more leeway to use their guns in the name of self-defense, among other circumstances.
This landmark case could set a precedent for pending cases against other police officers who are accused of similar actions carried out during the 2019 Estallido Social.
The Public Ministry called the officers’ actions illegitimate, but the officers argued that they acted in self-defense, and the judges considered the officers’ actions justified as a driver attempted to run them over.
The five police officers arrested a 49-year-old man who they shot three times. Their actions were initially questioned because the man suffered from deafness.
Judge Alfonso Jove read the verdict at the hearing, “the officials can defend themselves when they see that their lives and others’ are at risk.”
It is the first time a court has cited the Naín-Retamal law in favor of police in a case related to the 2019 social uprising. Police top brass see this as a positive sign for their officers who are in similar situations, according La Tercera.
Police defense counsel are now working out how best to take advantage of the new law. According to La Tercera, judiciary sources said every case will be evaluated independently, but they foresee less liability for police.
Chongyang Zhang is pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s program in journalism, media and globalisation. His interest lies in the relations among the United States, Latin America and China. He is currently doing an exchange semester at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.